When I walked thru the large wooden door that once opened a corner of Westport Road to America’s Pub, I was embarking on new ground. I’d never set foot in 510 Westport Road before. And what greeted me was a construction zone with stacks of drywall nearly reaching the ceiling. Once inside, I shook hands with Eric Flanagan, Aaron Beatty, and Erica Pyles. They are the brains behind Bridger’s Bottle Shop, the newest beer bar/bottle shop combination, a concept pioneered last year by Bier Station in Waldo.
Bridger’s plans on featuring nearly 600 different beers in bottles. Rather than grouping different beers by brewery or region, their enormous coolers will be organized by style. You can fill your variety six-pack of 12-oz bottles from the selection behind the IPA door, the stout door, the Belgian door, the sour door … or any combination of doors you like. Bottled beer can be consumed on-site or taken home, with slightly different prices for each. There won’t be a physical bar to saddle up to, only tables and chairs across one side of the space. Bridger’s will also have six taps of continually rotating beers. The staff will be lead by Erica Pyles, a certified Cicerone who has logged years at both the Yard House in Legends and more recently at the Flying Saucer. She, Eric and Aaron were confident their staff will be knowledgeable guides for the beer adventurers who visit.
Lest anyone go hungry while imbibing, Bridger’s will strive to accommodate. Alex Pope and the Local Pig will set up the Preservation Market within Bridger’s. As the name implies, pickled vegetables and cured meats will be featured heavily on the offering. The menu will include sandwiches for lunch and meat and cheese plates all day. Everything will be listed with suggested beer pairings, of course. Andrew Heimburger, formerly at the Reiger Hotel & Exchange, will serve as chef. If patrons happen to be looking for more guided intersections of beer and food, Bridger’s currently plans to host regular (potentially monthly) beer pairing dinners coordinated by their chef and cicerone.
Some ideas are still being finalized, and Bridger’s is looking for input from you. During our conversation, they discussed a reward program, possibly something between the plates at Flying Saucer and Untappd badges. And homebrewers, the staff might hold used bottles for you to reuse, if there is enough interest.
Eric hopes to have the doors open in March, with a beer garden on the street for St Patrick’s Day. They have a lot of drywall to put up, but the three seem very eager and excited – and prepared – to make Bridger’s a reality.
This is an exciting time for good beer fans in Kansas City. What may have seemed like a wilderness dominated by a loving, but singular brewery not too long ago is drawing more and more settlers. Bridger’s Bottle Shop hopes to be an outpost for veteran and novice beer explorers across the city.
Bridger’s Bottle Shop Wants Your Input
What do you look for in a membership or reward program? Recognition, awards, first dibs on new releases? Eric, Aaron and Erica want to know. Leave your comment below on what would make Bridger’s a better place to visit.
If you’re a homebrewer, would you want to pick up bottles for free? Let us know below.